| "I once thought I could save the world... now look at it"
— Spoilers for Deus Ex: Mankind Divided follow!
Shadow Operatives are a secret military organization that works for the Illuminati around 2029. They are also referred to as Gold Masks", "Gold-Masked Mercenaries", and by other similar terms in various in-game dialogue, mission briefings, and concept art descriptions, in reference to the distinctive headgear adorned by their troops.
Not much is known about how the organization was founded, but it appears that some time after the events of Deus Ex: Human Revolution, the Illuminati looked for a new group to carry out their military operations after the Tyrants were all but wiped out and Belltower Associates went bankrupt (though later re-branding itself as Tarvos Security Services). One possible reason that the Illuminati did not turn to Tarvos is that the Illuminati decided they needed a group they could directly order. Additionally, when Belltower re-branded itself as Tarvos, they released their augmented personnel. Although the Illuminati were working to control or get rid of augmented people, they did prefer using augmented personnel for operations, possibly because of their advantages in combat. A correspondence found in a Shadow Operatives facility suggests that some of the augmented personnel formerly employed by Belltower later joined the ranks of the Shadow Operatives.
Whatever the reasons, by 2029 the Shadow Operatives had grown into a small army of well-armed augmented soldiers willing to perform clandestine activities without hesitation.
Bases of Operation Edit
The Shadow Operatives operate from black site facilities under Illuminati control. One of their bases is G.A.R.M., a facility located in the Swiss Alps. Originally a scientific research center, the facility later fell under the direct or indirect control of Illuminati member Bob Page. G.A.R.M. houses troops commanded by Viktor Marchenko.
The Shadow Operates also operate from a facility in the Baltic region. This facility is known only by the designation "BH" or "BH facility" used in various e-mail correspondences. One correspondence indicates that the facility is off the mainland around Tallinn, Estonia, and is being used for nanotechnology research in addition to housing combatants. In preparing for an attack on London, Marchenko requested troops from the Baltic facility to bolster his forces based in G.A.R.M.
Organizational Structure Edit
The organizational and command structure of the Shadow Operatives is largely unknown. It does appear, however, that the Shadow Operatives are under the direct command of the Illuminati leadership. For example, an encrypted communication found in G.A.R.M. indicates that at least some elements among the Shadow Operatives are receiving direct orders from Bob Page, referred to in the communication as "Mister Majestic." Elizabeth DuClare also refers to the Shadow Operatives as "our assets," further suggesting that the Shadow Operatives are directly controlled by the Illuminati leadership.
Viktor Marchenko is deployed by the Illuminati to command the Stormsurge operation and the Shadow Operatives based in G.A.R.M. Marchenko is of value not only for his combat prowess, but also for his ties to Augmented Rights Coalition, which permits ARC to be framed for activities of the Shadow Operatives conducted under Marchenko. Marchenko's formal rank within the overall organization, if any, is not stated. It appears, however, that Marchenko is little more than a dispensable pawn, as indicated by orders from Bob Page to immediately terminate Marchenko in the event that he deviates from mission plans in London.
The Shadow Operatives field elite augmented soldiers equipped with advance, experimental augmentations developed by Vadim Orlov, such as the Icarus Dash and TITAN augmentations. Other augmentations used by Shadow Operatives include the Icarus Landing and Glass-Shield Cloaking. These assortment of augmentations make Shadow Operatives particularly formidable foes.
Identification records of Shadow Operative troops have been erased, making their personal identities untraceable.
Deus Ex: Mankind Divided Edit
In 2029, the Shadow Operatives ambush a black-market arms deal between the Jinn and the arms dealer Sheppard. Task Force 29's Prague division, who had been task with capturing Sheppard, is also present at the ambush. The Shadow Operatives took heavy causalities during the mission, with one Illuminati council member confirming that "all assets" deployed were lost. Nonetheless, Bob Page insists that the mission was a success. Due to the unusual chain of events leading up to the ambush, Alex Vega later tells Jensen that the Illuminati purposely wanted TF29's Prague division to witness the attack by the Shadow Operatives.
Adam Jensen's arrival at G.A.R.M Edit
Later, Jensen discovers and infiltrates the Shadow Operatives' G.A.R.M. base in Switzerland. Unaware that Marchenko had advance knowledge of Jensen's arrival, Marchenko ambushes the agent and temporarily incapacitates him using the Orchid. When Jensen wakes up, the Shadow Operatives are already in the process of evacuating the facility. By the time TF29's Lyon headquarters gets a team to G.A.R.M., the Shadow Operatives had already vacated the base and were in the process of carrying out "Stormsurge."
"Stormsurge" is the code name for an attack on Nathaniel Brown's Safe Harbour Convention in London's Apex Centre in order to thwart Nathaniel Brown's attempt to block passage of the Human Restoration Act. For this attack, Marchenko uses the Dvali to smuggle the Orchid to the Apex Centre so that the Orchid can be used to poison the United Nations delegates hosted by Brown. The Shadow Operatives then take control of the security system run by Tarvos at the Apex Centre, by using an undercover agent who had been transferred into the ranks of the local Tarvos unit.
Meanwhile, TF29 arrives at London after Jensen had discovered that this attack would be imminent. When Jensen arrives, he discovers that the Shadow Operatives have killed the Tarvos personnel stationed at the Apex Centre and have donned Tarvos uniforms as disguises. The exact outcome of the mission depends on the player's actions. However, under all outcomes, ARC is labeled as a terrorist organization by the United Nations after the event in London, indicating that the Illuminati were successful in framing ARC.
- In Deus Ex: Black Light, Adam Jensen encounters a group of augmented operatives deployed by the Illuminati. This group includes Gunther Hermann and is described as having "exotic" augmentations. It is possible that augmented operatives in Black Light and the Shadow Operatives encountered in Mankind Divided both belong to the same group.
- ↑ For example, Jensen uses the term "Gold Masks" in his dialogue with Miller in M14: Hunting Down the Final Clues. The mission briefing for this mission uses the term "Gold-Masked Mercenaries."
- ↑ RE: RE: Box guard unit 3 coding (email in G.A.R.M. Computers mentioning "old Belltower days")
- ↑ Page says that G.A.R.M. is a "recent acquisition" during a conversation with Megan Reed (cutscene at the VersaLife Vault).
- ↑ See G.A.R.M. computers and Vadim Orlov's computer.
- ↑ RE: Orchid potency exceeds expectations
- ↑ RE: Reserves.
- ↑ RE: Strange error message.
- ↑ Asset stability (e-mail in Orlov's computer).
- ↑ RE: RE: Update from MrM
- ↑ Dialogue with Singh in TF29 HQ ("Heavily augmented, as you know. Under those gold masks, they were I-D scrubbed. No prints, no dentals, no DNA match").
- ↑ Illuminati meeting cutscene after the Dubai mission.
- ↑ Pocket secretaries found in London.